It is rather a game of chance, becoming an author. In India itself, thousands of debut authors release their first books every single year. Some published through traditional publishing houses. Others through self publishing. The bottom line is that a lot more people are writing these days and getting published and though it may seem like it is getting easier to get published, it is in fact a tough game. What can you do to improve the odds of your book getting picked up over the hundreds of manuscripts that a publishing house receives through the year.  Here are some tips, in no particular order.

1] Write a book. No, I really mean write a book. I have received too many mails from folks with a vague  one para synopsis of the novel they intend to write. If you can’t do the finished book, do a chapter by chapter synopsis, a complete synopsis and three chapters written the best you can. Before you write, I’m assuming you have the basic tools to write? Namely a command over the language, an affinity with words and the ability to craft a narrative.

2] Get ten different people who are readers, and who can read a paragraph without nodding off to read through what you have written. Take their feedback. Rework what you have written. Then send what you have written to someone who works in the field of writing, an English professor perhaps, a features writer, anyone, who can go through it again for a professional opinion. If you can, complete the rest of the chapters and send the lot to everyone mentioned above for feedback.  After this, a good idea would be to get your book read by beta readers who are professional readers who charge for the service.

3] Research the publishing industry. Check which publishing house is publishing the kind of writing you are doing. Go to their website check their submission guidelines.

4] Make a detailed pitch letter that talks about you-in brief,  listing out all your accomplishments (no not that elocution contest trophy from Grade One) and a short para on the book you’ve written and why you think it will be interesting to the reader.

5] Spell and grammar check everything. Thrice. Four times. Ten times.Consult a dictionary, a thesaurus, pay attention to those wriggly red lines under your sentences.

6] Check for loopholes in plot, inconsistencies in character development and time lines. If it is non fiction check everything infinite times and provide references for information in the references section at the end of your manuscript.

7] Expect rejection. Prepare for rejection. And be ready to get back on your feet over and over again. Send out your manuscript to as many people as you’d like, but always with a mention that you’ve submitted it to multiple places. Or you can do the one submission at a time till you hear back, but that takes months on end with publishing house.

8] If you do get a proposal do negotiate. If you would like to go through an agent, there are plenty of very good agents in India, but thankfully publishers do still accept direct submissions.

9] If there’s any feedback you get with each rejection, use it to rework your book for the next submission.

10] And finally, trust in yourself. And your manuscript. And be the firmest, most unshakeable advocate for your own work. Because no one else will.

About the Author

Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral worked as a journalist with The Times of India and The Asian Age and was among the top bloggers in India.  Her books include The Reluctant Detective(Westland 2011), Once Upon A Crush (Leadstart 2014), All Aboard (Penguin 2015), Karmic Kids-The Story of Parenting Nobody Told You (Hay House 2015), The Face at the Window (Amaryllis  2016), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (Juggernaut 2016) and Saving Maya (Readify 2017). Her short stories include Switcheroo (Juggernaut 2016) and True Love Stories (Juggernaut 2017).

She currently writes a column on sexuality at DNA and another on feminism at Shethepeople.tv, and has previously been a columnist-blogger on gender issues with Tehelka. She is also on the planning board of the Kumaon Literary Festival, a mentor with Sheroes and is an advisor on the Board of Literature Studio, Delhi.           Twitter: @kiranmanral

Kiran is also a part of Blogchatter Writing Festival as an author mentor. One of the key successes of the Writing Festival is Blogchatter Ebook Carnival, world’s largest release of Ebooks in one go. You can also check out the thirty three ebook listings and pick the ones you feel will make great reads.